DUI, DWI, OVI, OMVI — these are all different names for driving under the influence, more commonly known as “drunk driving.” There are many common misconceptions about getting a DUI or OVI charge. Keep reading to learn what you need to know and why you should hire an experienced DUI lawyer as soon as possible.
Myth #1: Everyone Gets the Same Sentence
Some people assume everyone gets the same sentence, or that you are entitled to a “minimum sentence.” Not true. Some people retain driving privileges, some people keep their privileges only with an interlock device, and some get no privileges at all. ALL OVI/DUI CONVICTIONS carry mandatory incarceration in either an approved treatment program or jail and some convictions require both. While it is true that many people are eligible to receive the “minimum sentence,” it is also true that the judge has the ability to impose much more serious consequences. A “minimum sentence” can be very different depending on the level of the chemical test, whether a test was taken, prior convictions, the judge hearing your case… the list goes on. A prudent person should clearly consult an experienced attorney to be sure.
Myth #2: Pleading Guilty Without a Lawyer is Safe
Before making this grievous error, consider the following:
- Do you know the judge?
- Do you know their sentencing tendencies?
- Do you know their hot buttons?
- Do you understand the difference between a high tier, low tier, and refusal case?
- Do you know that if your OVI/DUI involved an accident, you could be subject to other penalties, such as restitution or a harsher jail sentence?
- Do you know when yellow plates are required, and how they can be avoided?
- Do you have any idea how much more you will pay in car insurance over the next few years with an OVI/DUI conviction on your record?
- Do you understand the rules and regulations governing the administration of field sobriety tests and the calibration of breath-testing devices?
- Do you know that an OVI/DUI will be on your record forever?
If your answer to any of these is no, you probably need a DUI attorney. The State of Ohio will certainly have an attorney representing its interests.
Myth #3: OVI Cases Can’t Be Won
This simply is not true. In many cases, an OVI/DUI charge may be amended to a lesser offense based upon facts, circumstances, and good representation. A skilled DUI lawyer understands how to properly challenge the state’s evidence against you before trial, many times rendering the state’s case weakened to the point that you are offered a reduced charge or even an outright dismissal. Your attorney may present witnesses and evidence on your behalf, and your attorney may also cross-examine the State of Ohio’s witnesses and challenge its evidence. Make no mistake — OVI/DUI cases can be won and are won.
Myth #4: Not Hiring A Lawyer Saves Money
Have you considered what it might cost you if you were to lose your job due to a conviction, or if you were denied a future promotion or new career opportunity? Have you considered the possible necessity of purchasing high-risk insurance? Have you considered the potential impact of an OVI/DUI conviction on life insurance policy rates?
Myth #5: You Can Trust the Advice of Friends with Past OVIs
It would be a mistake to assume that you can trust the advice of friends or others who have had OVIs or DUIs in a different state. First, many lawyers are not able to give good advice regarding OVIs/DUIs, so is it reasonable to think that laypersons can? OVI/DUI law is ever-changing and evolving, growing more complex with each change. You need a dedicated DUI lawyer who can stay up-to-date on the changes in the law and sentencing. If you do not protect your interests, then who will?